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Face coverings mandatory on public transport from Monday

From Monday, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport.

The move was set out by the First Minister in tandem with the announcement that Scotland will move through phase two of the route map for lockdown easing.

It will apply to all passengers and staff in public areas, although there will be exemptions especially for those who are not able to wear a face covering for specific medical reasons.

Children under five will also be exempt.

If a person is not wearing a face covering on public transport, in a taxi or private hire vehicle or in the public areas such as an airport without a reasonable excuse, they will be in breach of the law and liable to be fined.

Face coverings can include masks, reusable cloth coverings and a whole range of other options including scarves and bandanas — as long as the wearer’s nose and mouth are covered.

Employees when they are performing duties on a public transport service or in a public area of a station or airport must wear a face covering. Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely and provide advice, if requested, on applying and removing the covering.

On ferry services face coverings must also be worn by passengers and staff unless the ferry, or part of the ferry which is open to members of the public, is entirely outdoors or physical distancing of two metres can be maintained.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson stressed the importance of the new rules and that by wearing a face covering everyone is engaged in a collective responsibility to reduce the risk of transmission.

He said: “Our message remains clear that public transport should be for key workers and those who need it most and can’t walk or cycle to work.

“Capacity is reduced to enable physical distancing and operators are not yet running full services. However, as we work towards recovery and more people return to work and further local leisure opportunities begin to open up it is vital that measures are put in place to protect everyone’s health.

“Transport operators continue to play a key role in supporting essential travel and in ensuring passenger confidence in public transport while maintaining physical distancing. The use of face coverings forms a fundamental part of gaining that public trust.

“We are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing. Wearing a face covering while on public transport means you are playing your part in the collective effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus and reducing the risk to your fellow citizens. These measures complement physical distancing and good hand hygiene, they do not replace them.”

Advice on face coverings, including how to make one and instructions for using one, will be available on the Transport Scotland website. This advice is being updated to include full details of the applicable exemptions.